Guy Gavriel Kay

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Guy Gavriel Kay

Kay in 2011
Kay in 2011
Born (1954-11-07) November 7, 1954 (age 66)
Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada
GenreFantasy, scriptwriting, poetry
Notable works

Guy Gavriel Kay (born November 7, 1954) is a Canadian writer of fantasy fiction. The majority of his novels take place in fictional settings that resemble real places during real historical periods, such as Constantinople during the reign of Justinian I or Spain during the time of El Cid. Kay has expressed a preference to avoid genre categorization of these works as historical fantasy. As of 2019, Kay has published 14 novels and a book of poetry. As of 2018, his fiction has been translated into more than 30 languages.


Kay was born in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

When Christopher Tolkien needed an assistant to edit his father J. R. R. Tolkien's unpublished work, he chose Kay, then a student of philosophy at the University of Manitoba. Kay moved to Oxford in 1974 to assist Tolkien in editing The Silmarillion.[1]

He returned to Canada in 1975 to take a law degree at the University of Toronto. He was called to the bar of Ontario in 1981.

Kay became principal writer and an associate producer for a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio series, The Scales of Justice, and continued as principal writer when the series went to television.

In 1984, Kay's first fantasy work, The Summer Tree, the first volume of the trilogy The Fionavar Tapestry, was published.




  • Beyond This Dark House (2003), a collection

Partial list of nominations, awards and accolades[edit]


  • Kay won the 1985 Scales of Justice Award for best media treatment of a legal issue, Canadian Law Reform Commission, 1985, for "Second Time Around".[4]
  • The Wandering Fire won the 1987 Prix Aurora Award in the English category for best speculative fiction.[2][4]
  • Kay won the 1991 Aurora Award for Best Novel for Tigana.
  • Kay was runner up for the White Pine Award in 2007 for Ysabel.
  • Ysabel was the winner of the 2008 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.[5]
  • Kay has also won the International Goliardos Award for his contributions of the international literature of the fantastic.[6]
  • Under Heaven won the Sunburst Award in 2011[7] and was long listed for the IMPAC/Dublin Literary prize.[8]
  • Kay was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2014 "for his contributions to the field of speculative fiction as an internationally celebrated author."[9]
  • Under Heaven won the 2015 Prix Elbakin in France.[10]
  • River of Stars won the 2017 Prix Elbakin in France.[11]
  • Under Heaven was named the best fantasy novel of the year by The American Library Association,[12] and was the SF Book Club's Book of the Year



  1. ^ Flood, Alison (October 29, 2014). "Guy Gavriel Kay: 'I learned a lot about false starts from JRR Tolkien'". The Guardian. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Professional Awards (1980–2006)". Archived from the original on March 25, 2010.
  3. ^ "A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay". Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Guy Gavriel Kay (1954–) Biography – Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights".
  5. ^ "Awards | World Fantasy Convention". Archived from the original on October 27, 2012.
  6. ^ "Shortlist for the 2005 Sunburst Award". Archived from the original on March 17, 2010.
  7. ^ "2011 Sunburst Award Winners". Archived from the original on August 9, 2014.
  8. ^ "International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award: 2012 Longlist". Archived from the original on April 21, 2013.
  9. ^ General, Office of the Secretary to the Governor. "The Governor General of Canada". The Governor General of Canada.
  10. ^ "Remise de trophées du prix -". (in French). Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  11. ^ "Remise des trophées du prix adulte aux Utopiales 2017 -". (in French). Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  12. ^ "2011 The REading list | Awards & Grants". Retrieved October 13, 2018.

External links[edit]

Interviews and lectures[edit]

  1. ^ [1], 'Guy Gavriel Kay Lecture Recording', 14 May 2021. Retrieved 10 June 2021.